Vanilla Reload: The Party’s Over!?!


Vanilla Reloads… A travel hacker’s dream product. We had an awesome run while it lasted, but like most things in life that are too good to be true, there eventually comes an end. Effective Friday, April 04, 2014, there will be a nationwide policy change mandated at ALL CVS stores– Vanilla Reload cards will ONLY be allowed for purchase with cash.

I made one last ditch effort to load up this morning, but every local store I called either: A) had no cards in stock, or B) already switched over to the cash only policy.

So much for easily earning credit cards points! Not too long ago I even wrote a post about how Vanilla Reload cards and Bluebird were a match made in heaven.

But have no fear! The travel hacking community is filled with innovative geniuses, and it will only be a matter of time until a viable alternative is found. Ingenuity is the lifeblood of travel hacking… When there’s a will, there’s a way!

Funny enough, you can still find a $500 reload card out there — “Buy it now” on ebay for $715!

In the meantime, you can still make use of Amazon Payments… And I’m going to give Visa gift cards (with debit pin number) a try. I don’t see Visa gift cards being listed anywhere on the memo, so hopefully those can still be purchased with credit cards. The fee is slightly higher than Vanilla Reloads ($4.95/card vs. $3.95/card), but beggars can’t be choosers. 😉

Vanilla Reloads… I’ll always have the memories. Whether I was in Phoenix, or San Diego, or Indianapolis, or Chicago… I always made sure to make a CVS run to load up on some. When I discovered they could be found again in the Bay Area, I went gangbusters every chance I got. I used to have five go-to stores I would try and raid for $5000 each month. Such fun times… I’ll surely miss them.

Vanilla Reloads: So long, and thanks for all the POINTS!

Over $30,000 of VR cards…

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No Nonsense Landlord
6 years ago

Yep, the original intention of the cards got exploited for travel gains. I had a card that gave cash back 5% for spending at home improvement stores. just when I purchased a new building. I spend over $40K on that card. And they had a kicker that if you redeemed at least $100, you got a $25 bonus. I never redeemed more or less than $100. I had another card that let you get 2% back on the convenience checks. I deposited them, up to my maximum balance, and paint the check immediately on-line. Made $400 on that trip. But… Read more »

Income Surfer
6 years ago

I’m sure another travel hacking angle will emerge :o) That’s kinda like a local grocery store used to let you buy $50 prepaid gas cards for $40……with the purchase of $25 in groceries. They later raised the grocery limit to $50, but it was pretty sweet because I would buy $100 in groceries and get $40 off of $200 in gas cards. I drove a ton for work, so it was money in my pocket :o)

Tom @ Finance and Flip Flops

Guess the party had to end sometime! I’m still an amateur at this game, especially signing up for, then canceling credit cards after getting the points. My fiance and I have very good credit scores but I’d be a little concerned right now messing with those since its our only lifeline given our current negative net worth.

Passion FI
Passion FI
6 years ago

How do the Amazon payments work? I was only able to use vanilla reload once… Thanks.

Tom @ Finance and Flip Flops
Reply to  Passion FI

Yeah I’m trying to figure that out myself too. I’m signed up for it, but seems as though you can only link your bank account and not credit card.


When one door closes, another one opens. Much like when the mint coins were great back in the day and then came this. At least there’s still Amazon Payments…for now.

6 years ago

Crazyness! I wish we had such loopholes over here in the UK, but I’ve yet to find any so far (beleive me I’ve been looking pretty hard)

I even rang up my mortgage company the other day to ask if I could make an overpayment by credit card, they said no 🙂

I’m sure something else will come up soon for you guys though

Daryan Torres
Daryan Torres
6 years ago

Have you found anything that works like the VR? Never got to try it but find a lot of scammers on Instagram saying they can still do it.